Kevin Hayes put it best Monday morning.
“There are bigger things in life than just hockey,” he said.
The Rangers exemplified that statement before their game against the Metropolitan Division rival Flyers at the Wells Fargo Center.
In support of Oskar Lindblom, the Flyers’ 23-year-old forward from Sweden who was diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma fewer than two weeks ago, a handful of New York players wore “Oskar Strong” shirts, led by Swedish native Mika Zibanejad.
“We generated another $2,000 in donations within an hour of Mika sharing the photo,” Kim Parent, co-owner/artist for BiscuitTees.com and the daughter of Flyers great Bernie Parent, told NBCSportsPhiladelphia.com Monday night.
The “Oskar Strong” shirts can be purchased at BiscuitTees.com, with all proceeds benefiting the NHL's "Hockey Fights Cancer" initiative.
“Even if you don’t know him, you’re certainly touched by it and affected by it,” Rangers head coach David Quinn said of Lindblom and his fight against cancer. “We’ve all been affected by cancer in some way, shape or form. Not only our guys, but I think the hockey community certainly rallies around anybody in the situation he’s in. Our hearts and thoughts go out to the organization, him and the family.”
Per Parent, BiscuitTees.com has raised $110,000 to date, while the Devils and Wild have also reached out about purchasing shirts.
Alain Vigneault, who coached the Rangers from 2013 to 2018, wasn’t surprised by his former team’s support of Lindblom.
“Very classy, very first class organization,” Vigneault said. “There’s no doubt that Oskar’s situation has touched everyone in the league. Like I said the other day, this is a strong league, a good league with strong people and good people. Without a doubt, the Rangers are showing their support.”
Hayes, who played for the Rangers from 2014 into last season, echoed that sentiment.
“It’s a first class organization, but honestly it’s a first class league with the way that the hockey community comes together,” he said.
“Oskar is a great guy, a great teammate. We all miss him in here.
“It’s a battle that he’s going to fight but he knows that this organization and pretty much every organization in the league is standing there with him and wishing him nothing but the best.”
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